Stop the P40 billion reclamation project

ANY swift and favorable action by the Supreme Court over the petition against the P14 billion reclamation plan by the national government filed by ex-Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, the wife of Senator Manny Villar, would surely be a great service to the people.

Nonetheless, if the high court wouldn’t do anything or at the least would act in slow pace, several barangays or exactly 65 of those at the Manila Bay coastline in the cities of Parañaque and La Piñas and in Bacoor, Cavite will soon be submerged in floodwater of course especially during rainy days and, worse, typhoons.

Hence, the former solon, who’s accompanied by veteran lawyer, Frank Chavez, is pretty confident that the SC would issue with dispatch a Writ of Kalikasan and a Temporary Environmental Protection Order to effectively stop the concerned national government agencies from pushing through with the reclamation plan which covers some 635.14 hectares along the coastline.

Looking closely at the way the petition was pushed, there seems to be no personal or hidden agenda for her who indubitably is knowledgeable over the matters. To me, the former congresswoman is only extra-concerned as to the ill-effects once the reclamation project, whose developer is the Alltech Contractors Inc., materializes.

Hiring the services of a hydrological service consultant, the Tricore Solutions Inc., the petitioner claims that if the plan to reclaim the Manila Bay coastline by Alltech sets into motion this would inundate the villages under more than five meters of floodwater since it will impede the natural flow of water to the bay.

Besides, Mrs. Villar, who’s by the way is a potential bet for senator come 2013 is similarly concerned over the imminent and irreparable damage it may cause to the coastal lagoon of the two cities which has been declared as critical habitat eco-tourism area in 2007 through a presidential order.

She says: “This wildlife habitat is home to more than 195 species of birds. Some of the most endangered species in the world can be found in the said habitat. Foremost of these endangered species are the Philippine duck and the Chinese egret. There are likewise rare species of the birds that can regularly be seen in the said areas, such as the osprey, the pied avocet and the Siberian rubythroat. It is also a swamp habitat to eight species of mangroves and is the most dense among the surviving mangrove areas along Manila Bay.”

If it’s true that Alltech was able to skirt environmental impact assessment processes by claiming that its project is but a “continuation” of an ongoing and existing project, well this is something that the SC should meticulously scrutinize in the interest of the public.

Well, the issue is comprehensible enough especially for the bright boys at the high tribunal led by equally straightforward Chief Justice Renato Corona. Let’s just see if it has time for this.

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